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Int. Insurance links 4.1.10 (final for Q4 2009)

Marsh & McLennan Buys HSBC Broker to Expand in U.K

Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Marsh & McLennan Cos., the second- largest insurance broker, agreed to pay 135 million pounds ($218 million) to HSBC Holdings Plc for a business that places coverage with corporations in the U.K., Middle East and Asia.

The cash and stock purchase of HSBC Insurance Brokers Ltd. is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2010, New York-based Marsh & McLennan said today in a statement. Marsh & McLennan will have “preferred access” to provide brokerage business to customers of the London-based bank, the firm said.


Ukip leader's insurance company at heart of Costa Rica bribe claims

The insurance business that made the fortune of the new leader of the UK Independence party (Ukip) is embroiled in an international bribery scandal that could lead to criminal charges in the UK, according to documents obtained by the Observer.

A detailed indictment served in Costa Rica this month alleges that a subsidiary of PWS, the insurance brokers which Lord Pearson of Rannoch founded and chaired, grossly overcharged the small central American state for its insurance premiums.


ING Sells Stake In Pacific Antai Life Insurance To CCB

Dutch ING has agreed to sell its 50% stake in Pacific Antai Life Insurance to China Construction Bank as part of its restructuring programme, reported Reuters. Founded in 1998, Pacific Antai Life Insurance sells individual and group life insurance, and has about 300,000 customers.

Reportedly, the Netherlands-based financial group aims to pare back its operations and cut risks after being hit by the credit turmoil and receiving government life line in 2008.


S&P maintains negative outlook for US insurers

Standard & Poor's (S&P) has predicted that US insurers are set to start 2010 on stronger footing, but that challenges persist. The rating agency maintains a negative outlook on the US life insurance market.S&P’s outlook on the life insurance market has been negative since October 2008 and downgrades continue despite general economic improvement. As such, S&P is remaining cautious in the sustainability of the recovery.


Prudential Completes Sale Of $4.5bn Stake In Wachovia Securities

Prudential Financial has completed the sale of its minority joint venture interest in Wachovia Securities Financial Holdings, which includes Wells Fargo Advisors (formerly Wachovia Securities) to Wells Fargo & Company.

The company has received $4.5bn in cash at closing of the transaction. In addition, it also received $418.4m in payment of the principal and accrued interest on a subordinated promissory note that Wachovia Securities had issued in connection with the establishment of the joint venture.


Int. Insurance Links 16.11.09 

Aviva remains upbeat despite 25% drop in UK sales

A loss of confidence in the economy among older customers helped knock UK sales at life assurer Aviva by 25%, according to the company's third-quarter management statement.

Customers close to retirement delayed purchasing annuities, while pension savers either reduced or stopped their monthly payments, hitting the company's core pensions and annuity businesses over the first three months of the year.


RBS outlines assets insured by taxpayer

Royal Bank of Scotland has used up nearly half of the £60bn buffer available before it is able to hand 90% of its losses on toxic assets to the taxpayer through the asset protection scheme. Stephen Hester, chief executive of the bank, insisted today that RBS should not need to call upon the insurance for its £282bn of troubled assets through the APS as its impairment charge was levelling off.

The bank has used £27bn of the buffer and today published information about the assets being insured by taxpayer. Some £120bn are in the non-core division created by Hester to hold businesses being sold, while £75bn are contained within the investment bank. In terms of the type of loans, just £15bn are residential mortgages while £51bn are loans connected to commercial property.

RBS admits EU sale plan

Royal Bank of Scotland has admitted for the first time that the European Union is forcing it to sell off more assets than it planned.

RBS told the City this morning that it hopes to have concluded a deal with the EU over its state aid support by the end of this week. The price of this deal, it warned, is that it will have to sell parts of its operations which it hoped to hang on to after it was restructured.




Flood victims suffer as insurance costs rise

Flood victims continue to face spiralling costs for home insurance as excesses for flood cover rise to levels that are making their properties virtually impossible to sell.

Many have invested thousands to protect their homes from flooding, but these efforts are rarely rewarded by insurers.

"People are coming to us with huge premiums and flood excesses of up to £30,000, which is as good as having no insurance at all and makes their property virtually worthless," says Mary Dhonau, chief executive of the National Flood Forum, a charity that advises flood victims. "The problem has got steadily worse over the past year and we are now being overwhelmed by calls from homeowners who have spent a huge amount protecting their property, but are still being charged ridiculous premiums or refused cover altogether."


UNIQA To Increase Stake In Albanian Insurance Company To 68.7%

Austria-based UNIQA Group is all set to acquire a further 23% of the share capital in Albanian insurance company, Sigal. The move would increase its share in Sigal and its subsidiaries in Kosovo and Macedonia, to around 68.7%.

The relevant agreements with the former shareholders were signed on November 11, 2009. However, the 13% holding of Albanian American Enterprise Fund (AAEF) in Sigal will remain unchanged. Additionally, UNIQA also has finalised options to purchase the remaining shares over the next few years.


Willis Names New CEO For Dutch Business

Willis Europe, a division of Willis Group Holdings, has appointed Niek Post as CEO of its Dutch operations, effective immediately. Based in Amsterdam, Mr. Post will report to Adam Garrard, CEO of Willis Continental Europe.

Mr. Post, who has more than 25 years of experience in the Dutch insurance market, joins Willis from Aon Netherlands where he was most recently responsible for strategic global client relationships, with a particular focus on financial institutions.


The Hartford Enhances Cyber Liability Policy (new product?)

The Hartford Financial Services Group (The Hartford) has introduced its enhanced flagship cyber liability policy to address emerging online reputation and privacy exposures. Drew Bartkiewicz, vice president of cyber and new media risk at The Hartford, said: “We’re seeing widespread adoption of social media technologies among businesses in virtually every industry. At the same time, data is becoming increasingly regulated, which is creating new exposures, particularly in the areas of data privacy and reputational risk.”

With CyberChoice 2.09, The Hartford now offers broader coverage for data privacy breaches and social media liability exposures, such as online defamation, advertising, libel and slander, by employees or casual users of a company’s web site.


AAA NCNU Selects Exigen Insurance Solutions

Exigen Insurance Solutions, a provider of insurance core systems, has announced that AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah has selected Exigen Insurance Solutions' underwriting, policy administration and billing solutions for auto, homeowners and all other personal lines of business for its operations spanning 18 states.

The Exigen Suite applications PolicyCore and BillingCore will allow AAA NCNU to rapidly expand and enhance its insurance product offerings and customer service to many members from a technology platform that supports long-term business growth.


Assurance Teams Up With RiskProNet International

Assurance Limited, a full-service insurance agency in Las Vegas, has joined RiskProNet International, a network of 24 independent insurance brokers in North America. Reportedly, RiskProNet members in 2008 had combined revenues in excess of $688 million and over $6.5 billion in written premium.

Each partner is an equal owner in the association, which gives its members the geographic diversity and shared knowledge base to serve clients with national, international or specialised exposures to risk. Through its alliances with brokers around the world, RiskProNet members can serve clients globally.


Cooper Gay Purchases Reinsurance Broker

Cooper Gay Holdings, an independent insurance and reinsurance broker, has acquired majority of the shareholding in, a Florida-based specialist reinsurance broker. focuses on treaty and facultative reinsurance solutions, primarily for the Argentine market. The company was set up in 2006 by Guillermo Pastore.

Mr Pastore has over 20 years’ experience in the Latin American reinsurance sector and was formerly COO of EW Blanch and Benfield Greig in Argentina. Mr Pastore will continue as CEO and will drive expansion in support of Cooper Gay’s strategy for the region.


Willis Group To Expand Its Commercial Network Internationally

Willis Group Holdings, an insurance broker, has planed to expand its Willis Commercial Network business model for serving independent brokers from its base in the UK to countries around the world. The company has appointed Mark Radburn as CEO of Willis Networks International to oversee the expansion. Mr Radburn, will report to Sarah Turvill, CEO, Willis International.

Mr Radburn joined Willis from JLT in 1996 as Sales & Marketing Director for the Willis UK & Ireland central region. He was appointed as managing director in 2002.


Farmers Life Appoints New President, CEO

Farmers Group's CEO, Robert Woudstra, and Zurich Financial Services' CEO of Global Life Americas, Kevin Hogan have announced the appointment of Thomas White as president and CEO of Farmers Life, and executive vice president of Farmers Group. Mr White succeeds Paul Patsis, who recently assumed the role of president of market management and executive vice president of Farmers Group.

Mr. White joins Farmers from AIG in Asia, where he was president and CEO of AIA Thailand, and senior regional life division executive responsible for Vietnam and Indonesia.


Concordis Group Acquires Concordis Insurance

Concordis Group has finalised the acquisition of Concordis Insurance. Concordis Insurance provides a variety of custom-tailored insurance solutions to captive programs, risk retention groups, self-insured clients, insurance companies and both public and private entities.

Trent Sommerville, CEO of Concordis Group, stated, "We are thrilled to finalise this great business opportunity. This acquisition is a tremendous next step for Concordis as it will enable us to bring a greater breadth of services to our customers."


Hillross To Acquire Rabo Financial Advisors

Hillross Financial Services (Hillross), a wealth management firm which is wholly owned by AMP, has agreed to acquire Rabo Financial Advisors, the financial planning arm of Rabobank Australia & New Zealand.

As part of the transaction, Hillross and Rabobank have also entered into an ongoing alliance where Hillross will be the exclusive provider of financial planning advice to Rabobank’s clients, through a referral agreement between the two companies.


European liability insurers braced for claims

12 October 2009

D&O and E&O insurers in Europe expect to fare better than their American counterparts in the financial crisis. But the threat of increasing claims still looms.

After more than a year of plummeting share prices, widely-publicised defaults and international fraud scandals, liability insurers across Europe have plenty of reasons to worry. They may not expect to be hit as badly as their North American peers, but the same question will be on their minds: how much is it all going to cost? So far, the much-anticipated surge of liability claims from the financial crisis has not materialised. But insurers across Europe have reported an increase in notifications, many of which are related to the crisis.

“There are figures being suggested by some insurers that they’re seeing up to three times the number of notifications,” says Adam Codrington, executive director in Aon’s directors’ and officers’ liability (D&O) team. “We are certainly seeing more notifications to D&O contracts on commercial accounts, but it’s an increase in frequency rather than severity at the moment.”


Dutch Delta eyes ING, ASR assets

06 November 2009

Dutch insurer, Delta Lloyd, may purchase the insurance assets of ING Group and ASR Verzekeringen, CEO Niek Hoek said Thursday at an analyst meeting, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Dutch insurer, Delta Lloyd, may purchase the insurance assets of ING Group and ASR Verzekeringen, CEO...

General info on interested buyers of AIG's insurance units




Climate change to cost insurers: ABI

04 November 2009

Property insurance could become more expensive and harder to obtain as a result of global climate change, according to a new report published by the Association of British Insurers. Property insurance could become more expensive and harder to obtain as a result of global climate change, according to a new report published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The ABI’s report The Financial Risks of Climate Change – which was produced by risk modelling firm AIR Worldwide – looked at the financial implications of the widely predicted temperature increases of two, four...


Spectre of new regulation looms for insurers

11 November 2009

New financial services regulation could be detrimental to insurers if not handled properly, a panel of insurance and reinsurance executives warned at Reactions’ Global Insurance Conference in Zurich, Switzerland on November 10.

New financial services regulation could be detrimental to insurers if not handled properly, a panel of insurance and reinsurance executives warned at Reactions’ Global Insurance Conference in Zurich, Switzerland on November 10. The panel, which was chaired by Reactions’ editor Michael Loney, included Paolo de Martin, Scor’s chief financial officer; James Illingworth, group chief risk officer of Lloyd’s insurer Amlin; Patrick Liedtke, secretary general and managing director of The Geneva Association; Mark Byrne, chairman and founder of Flagstone Re; and Costas Miranthis, CEO of PartnerRe Europe.

Liedtke kicked off the discussion by referring to a letter his association sent to the G-20 last week, urging it to take into account the specific nature of insurance and reinsurance when devising a new regulatory framework.

“If you look at the scope of this crisis, you can draw the conclusion that insurance as a system actually worked pretty well. This is...


The Hartford Introduces Benefits Solution


By Staff Reporter

To offer necessary income protection

The Hartford Financial Services Group has unveiled a total voluntary benefits solution for employers with one thousand or more employees.This new system of people, processes and technology for voluntary group life and disability insurance is the outcome of significant investments by The Hartford.

John Gallant, vice president of service operations for The Hartford’s Group Benefits Division, said: “We understand employers are stretched to their limits in today’s tough economy and are turning to voluntary benefits as an affordable way to offer important income protection to their employees. Our voluntary services can be customised to deliver a flexible benefit program to meet the unique needs of today’s employers.”


DUAL To Enhance Focus Products Suite


Appointed new member to its DUAL Focus team

DUAL Corporate Risks, a directors & officers and professional indemnity underwriting agency for mid-market companies, has appointed Liz Hanlon to its DUAL Focus team. The company claims that its DUAL Focus provides specialist insurance solutions for complex financial institution based risks.


HUB Acquires Mones & Associates Insurance Brokers From Aviva Canada

Transaction to expand Hub's presence in seven new Canadian locations

Hub International has acquired Mones & Associates Insurance Brokers (Mones), a personal and commercial insurance brokers company in Canada, from Aviva Canada. Mones also operates under the name of Arctic Insurance Brokers in select markets. The company said that as a result of this acquisition, it will expand its operations to seven new locations in Canada that include, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Iqaluit, Whitehorse and Yellowknife.


International Excess Opens Agriculture Business Insurance Unit


By Staff Reporter

To focus on crop insurance and farm and livestock insurance

US-based insurance broker, International Excess has opend new Agribusiness division which is expected to focus on crop insurance and farm and livestock insurance. The company has appointed Chuck Gabel as divisional vice president of International Excess Agribusiness. He has specialized in crop insurance and farm insurance for more than 20 years. Mr. Gabel said: "Insurance for Agribusiness has become my full-time passion and I'm working to give the farming industry the protection they deserve."


Marsh & Mclennan Agency Acquires Insurance Alliance

As part of an expansion strategy to cater to the needs of small-to-mid-sized companies across the country

Marsh & McLennan Agency, a subsidiary of insurance broker, Marsh, has acquired Texas-based Insurance Alliance, an independent insurance agency, as part of its expansion strategy. The move is intended to cater to the needs of small-to-mid-sized companies across the country.

Insurance Alliance has annual revenue of $15m and serves over 1,500 commercial clients located primarily in Texas and throughout the Southwest. The firm has specialist teams serving clients in construction, surety, energy and marine, professional services, general property and casualty, and employee benefits.


FPIC Insurance Completes Acquisition Of Advocate, MD Financial


By Staff Reporter

Expected to leverage the strengths of both the organizations

First Professionals Insurance, a subsidiary of FPIC Insurance Group, a provider of medical professional liability insurance for healthcare firms, has completed the acquisition of all of the outstanding capital stock of Advocate, MD and its subsidiaries.

Under the terms of the previously announced agreement, FPIC paid total consideration of $33.6m at closing, and may pay up to $12m in additional consideration depending on the performance of Advocate, MD during the two-year period following closing. In connection with the transaction, FPIC also retired all of Advocate MD’s outstanding bank debt, totaling $9m.


ACE Expands Structured Reinsurance Solutions


By Staff Reporter

Creates a new role of senior underwriter for structured risks

ACE Tempest Re Europe has appointed David Mann in the newly created role of senior underwriter for structured risks. His appointment is in line with the company's expansion of its product offering across its reinsurance division. The ACE Tempest Re Group oversees the reinsurance operations of the ACE Group of Companies.

Mr. Mann will be responsible for underwriting non-traditional bespoke reinsurance solutions across property, casualty and specialty lines. He will report to Andreas Lewin, managing director, ACE Tempest Re Europe and will be based in its London office. Mr. Mann joins ACE Tempest Re from Aspen Insurance, Bermuda, where he was most recently senior underwriter for structured risks.



Snyd Med Lønforsikringer? 

Forsikringsfirma snyder danskere

Hobevis af danskere tegner en såkaldt lønforsikring, som skal sikre dem fra at gå fra hus og hjem, hvis de bliver fyret.

Forsikringen kan købes som et supplement til a-kassen og udbetales månedligt oven i dagpengene, hvis man ufrivilligt mister sit arbejde. Men ikke alle firmaer, som udbyder lønforsikringerne, har rent mel i posen.

Får dagligt klager
Firmaet Genworth Financials tilbyder de lovende lønforsikringer og står for cirka halvdelen af de 75.000 lønforsikringer, som indtil videre er blevet tegnet i Danmark. Desværre viser det sig, at klagerne over firmaet ingen ende vil tage. Firmaet holder nemlig ikke, hvad det lover.

Flere forsikringskøbere klager blandt andet over en dårlig sagsbehandling hos firmaet, og at de aldrig har modtaget penge fra firmaet, efter de er blevet fyret.

Kurt Sørensen, der er chef for kunderelationer i Kristelig Fagbevægelse, siger at afdelingen dagligt har en til fire klager over sagsbehandlingen ved Genworth.


Int. Insurance Links 2.11.09 (part 3) 

Hiscox bolsters claims operation

by Richard Kilner

Story link: Hiscox bolsters claims operation

Specialist insurer Hiscox has bolstered its claims operation with the creation of two new, senior positions.

Joanne Musselle becomes head of UK Claims for Hiscox UK, and Tony Rai has been named as head of London Market Claims, within the London Market division.

Musselle has been with the firm for the last seven years, joining as a technical underwriting manager, and will report directly to Group Claims Director Jeremy Pinchin.

Her new London-based post will see her take responsibility for 40 claims employees across the commercial and personal lines businesses, whilst retaining her position as head of group claims strategy


One in ten fail to take out travel insurance

by Richard Kilner

Story link: One in ten fail to take out travel insurance

One in ten of travellers are not taking out travel insurance, according to new research commissioned by Check Safety First.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Harrington has called on the insurance industry to educate consumers about the importance of travel insurance, pointing out that the average medical claim is around £2,500, and clearly worth spending £20 to cover. Rather oddly, two in five of the 2,000 people surveyed stated they had suffered a mishap such as an accident, food poisoning or burn whilst on holiday, all of which would be covered by travel insurance.

Women and the 35-44 age bracket were the most likely to forget to take out insurance. Harrington also expressed his disquiet at the fact that a small number of those surveyed confessed to making fraudulent claims against hotels for medical reasons, a handful even stating they did it regularly.


CEIOPS to stress test EU insurers

by Gill Montia

Story link: CEIOPS to stress test EU insurers
CEIOPS to stress test EU insurers

The Committee of European Insurers and Occupational Pension Supervisors (CEIOPS) has announced it will run an EU-wide stress test “for large and important insurance groups”, in December 2009.

The body says it will develop the exercise in close cooperation with industry representatives and aims to deliver its findings to EU ministers during the first quarter of 2010.

The test, which will focus on market and credit risks, aims to increase the level of aggregate information among policy makers in assessing the European insurance sector’s potential resilience to shocks.

Findings will also be used to develop an EU-wide consensus on supervisory practices.


Floods could cost £4bn per year by 2035

by David Masters

Story link: Floods could cost £4bn per year by 2035

Home insurance firms are set to lose £4 billion a year by 2035 on repairing flood water damage unless the industry takes the lead in creating a flood prevention strategy.

Insurance companies should work with the Environment Agency and local authorities on putting flood prevention measures in place and making homes flood proof, Co-operative Financial Services said.

“As insurers we have to look at our own position and we have a responsibility to our customers to speak up when things are progressing too slowly,” said James Hillon, Co-operative head of home insurance.

“Houses are being built with pound signs in developer’s eyes rather than the homeowner’s best interests at heart and local planners don’t understand the areas they are approving building works on,” he added.



Int. Insurance Links 2.11.09 (part 2) 

Aon Launches New Insurance Cover For Pandemic Building Closure


By Staff Reporter

To reimburse companies for wages, fixed costs and extra expenses

Aon, an insurance broker, has introduced a stand-alone insurance policy to reimburse companies for wages, fixed costs and extra expenses if they are unable to access their buildings due to outbreak of H1N1.

After the H1N1 outbreak in April 2009, both the Mexican and Argentinean governments have shut their central business districts, public buildings and educational institutes to prevent the spread of infection. 


U.S. RE Inks Strategic Alliance With San Segur


By Staff Reporter

To operate in insurance and reinsurance markets of Argentina, take advantage of other mutual opportunities elsewhere in Latin America

U.S. RE Corporation, a reinsurance brokerage firm, has formed a strategic alliance with San Segur, an insurance and reinsurance broker in Buenos Aires, Argentina with access to the Latin American market.
The alliance between San Segur and U.S. RE will operate in the insurance and reinsurance markets of Argentina and take advantage of other mutual opportunities elsewhere in Latin America.


CNA Names New SVP For Commercial Segments


By Staff Reporter

To oversee the profitable growth of middle market business

CNA Financial Corporation, a commercial insurer and a property and casualty company, has named David Rutkowski as senior vice president of Commercial Segments, effective November 2.

In this role, Mr Rutkowski will be responsible for profitability, growth and strategic direction of CNA’s Middle Market customer segments, including construction, CustomXpress, general Industries, technology and product development.


Chartis Modifies Commercial Umbrella Program With XSEnhanced


By Staff Reporter

To meet casualty needs of selected industries

Chartis has introduced XSEnhanced, developed by its Excess Casualty Division as a suite of coverage enhancements to its commercial umbrella program with tailored coverages for specific industries.

The first in the suite to be introduced to the market is XSEnhanced for Restaurants, which will address many of the exposures of the food service industry in a single coverage endorsement.


The Hartford Expands Wrap-Up Capabilities For Public-Private Partnerships


By Staff Reporter

To create integrated insurance programs for major infrastructure projects

The Hartford Financial Services Group has expanded its construction wrap-up capabilities to create integrated insurance programs designed specifically for major infrastructure projects.

The Hartford has undertaken this step to address the evolving insurance needs of contractors involved in public-private partnerships.


ING Selects New Global CEO Of Investment Management


By Staff Reporter

To build investment management business for global success

ING Investment Management has appointed Gilbert Hassel as the global CEO of ING Investment Management. Mr Hassel will report to Tom McInerney who will take on the role of chief operating officer on the ING Management Board Insurance, with day-to-day responsibility for all insurance and investment management activities.

Mr Hassel succeeds Jacques de Vaucleroy, who stepped down on 26 October to pursue other interests. He has nearly 27 years of experience in finance and asset management. He joined ING in 2007 as CEO ING Investment Management Europe and will continue in this role until a successor has been named.


EPIC Names New Principal, VP


By Staff Reporter

To identify, mitigate and manage property related risk

EPIC (Edgewood Partners Insurance Center), a retail property, casualty and employee benefits insurance brokerage, has appointed Kenyon Hall as principal. Mr Hall will be based in Atlanta.

For the past 10 years, he has specialised in the design, placement and management of complex property insurance programs for companies facing catastrophic exposures. These companies include clients in the real estate, retail, manufacturing and construction industries.


Kingsway Sells Zephyr Insurance To ZAC


By Staff Reporter

Piper Jaffray & Co. acted as the exclusive financial advisor

Kingsway Financial Services has completed the sale of Zephyr Insurance, to Zephyr Acquisition Company (ZAC), an acquisition vehicle of Ocean Harbor Holding and MP Holdings, a Hawaiian-based investor group, for initial gross proceeds of $31.5m, plus a contingent, deferred earn-out amount.

For the first six months of 2009, Zephyr had gross premiums written of approximately US$36m, or 7% of the premiums of the Kingsway group of companies, and produced an underwriting profit.


IAS Expands Underwriting Alliance With Assurant Solutions


By Staff Reporter

To include Tire and Wheel

Innovative Aftermarket Systems (IAS), a provider of F&I software and aftermarket programs, has expanded its underwriting alliance with Assurant Solutions to include Tire and Wheel.

IAS and Assurant Solutions currently have a mutual relationship with IAS on programs such as Key Replacement, Independent Dealer GAP and GAP Dealer Reinsurance.

The new five-year underwriting agreement with Assurant Solutions enables the company to provide its agents and dealers with the stability they need. The new coverage is effective December 1, 2009 in virtually all states.